Does time use in outpatient residency training reflect community practice?

Edward J. Callahan, Kurt C. Stange, Klea D. Bertakis, Stephen J. Zyzanski, Rahman Azari, Susan A. Flocke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The degree to which the ideals practiced during residency training persist amidst the pressures of community practice is unknown. Therefore, this paper compares time use during outpatient visits to family practice residents and experienced family physicians. Methods: Visits of 244 new adult outpatients to 33 second- and third-year residents in a university clinic in Northern California were compared to 277 new adult outpatient visits to 92 community family physicians in Northeast Ohio, using the Davis Observation Code (DOC). The DOC uses observation to classify visit time into 20 different behavioral categories, reflecting different physician styles of interaction with patients. Results: Controlling for patient mix, residents had longer visits, a less technical focus, and spent a greater percent of the visit on efforts to promote health behavior change, patient activation, preventive services, discussion of substance abuse, and counseling. Conclusions: Experienced family physicians provide more technical and less preventive and psychosocially oriented care than residents. This may reflect differences in patient mix, practice setting, physician experience, and the time and financial pressures of community practice. These findings may be used to modify residency training to better reflect actual community practice and to guide future studies of the effects of experience and different practice environments on physician style with patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-427
Number of pages5
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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